Congressional Fiscal Malfeasance

While the incident in Benghazi is put on the back burner, the media is now focusing upon the “fiscal cliff” that Congress has so conveniently swept under the rug until after the elections.   And on top of it, the first consequences of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare) are now becoming apparent.  Let’s not forget who is responsible for these “crises”.

That’s right – Our elected officials, the politicians who are mostly attorneys & not accountants, are making financial decisions that will affect this country and its citizens.  Their track record is absolutely abysmal.  After all, look at their forays into –

  • The Post Office – Government mandated and losing money hand over fist.
  • Amtrak – After 40+ years of government subsidies, it’s nowhere near breaking even.
  • Medicare & Medicaid – Will still go broke no matter what Obamacare props up or robs from the programs.  I fully expect Obamacare to replace Medicare & Medicaid at some point in the future.
  • Social Security – Is there ever an election cycle that doesn’t state that Social Security must receive new funding or it will go broke by some future date?
  • Department of Energy – Originally set up in 1977 with the mandate to bring the United States forward to be energy-independent.  Where are we in 2012?  Lots of failed ventures into “green” energy, and definitely not energy independent with conventional energy sources.
  • Corporate bailouts – Taxpayers will never see full returns on bailouts of the financial institutions and car companies.
  • Housing – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were just two of the government-sponsored disasters that started the current financial crisis.

And now healthcare for us all.  Who cannot remember this quote from a townhall meeting with Senator Arlan Spector and Kathleen Sibelius?

“I look at this health care plan and I see nothing that is about health or about care. What I see is a bureaucratic nightmare, Senator.  Medicaid is broke, Medicare is broke, Social Security is broke and you want us to believe that a government that can’t even run a cash for clunkers program is going to run one-seventh of our U.S. economy?  No sir, no!”

This is what government is now good for – bureaucratic nightmares that the average person cannot wade through without an attorney present.  Good for the attorney (if you can find one that can understand what the law states), but bad for you & me.  But I digress from the point of this post…

We, as a country and as individuals, are now being bombarded by visions of gloom and doom that the “fiscal cliff” is coming, and that Congress must act or the sky will fall.  Never mind that it was these clowns that created this situation and the situation that created the financial meltdown in the first place (read the post “The American Dream or Nightmare?” for an in depth background).  And isn’t it highly suspicious that although this situation was pending, very few politicians or news outlets brought it up until after the election?

I have no doubt that the political parties are playing political brinksmanship with this “crisis’ in order to score political points with the electorate.  I also believe that both the Republicans and Democrats have had their talking points & strategies in place long before now.  Frankly, I think this is disgusting because these asshats are playing with people’s lives, and for what?  How can businesses come up with a business plan (1 year plan, 5 year plan, etc.) if the government cannot come up with any long-term plan and make it stick?  Government policies change depending on who is elected, what their agenda is, and what laws they manage to get passed.  Let’s take the example of Obamacare and how businesses are now reacting to the changes that will be enacted after the first of the year.

One of the provisions is that businesses must provide health insurance benefits to full time employees.  A full time employee is defined as a person that works 35 or more hours per week.  Thus, as been reported in the media these past couple of weeks, many businesses, mostly restaurants, are cutting their employee’s hours to below 35 hours to avoid the mandate.

It is interesting to note that the above mandate actually hurts the people that Obamacare is supposed to help – the lower income, service-oriented workers who traditionally do not get healthcare benefits from their employer. Now, they may get healthcare, but they also have their hours reduced if they have a job at all.

While my liberal friends (yes, I have a couple) are decrying this development stating that this is unfair, I have to remind them that a business is in business to make money for the owner and investors, not to provide benefits solely for the employees.  If a business cannot make a profit taking all the expenses, taxes, and benefits into consideration, then they are out of business, i.e., no one has a job.

Welcome to the real world…

At the moment, I have health benefits from my work as it is a large company with several hundred people.  However, I do worry about what is going to happen in January 2014 when this little jewel will hit:

Now I know that my health insurance costs my company more than $2,000 a year.  I’m half expecting that my company (being ever so cost-conscience) will take the penalty hit, leave me out on my own to get healthcare coverage, and not compensate me for the premium that I would need to pay out of my pocket.  There will be others in the same situation.

What Obamacare and the fiscal cliff have in common is that our elected non-representational representatives are not capable of making long-term financial decisions that are in the best interests of the country and its people.  They are swayed by the almighty vote and tax dollars to be used for funding their pet projects.  Until the electorate wises up to this fact and realizes that these Congresscriminals are picking their pocket and holds them accountable, nothing will change.

Post Election Comments / Veteran’s Day

After every election, the losing party usually asks, “What went wrong?”  The pundits have put in their two-cents worth, so I guess I’ll put in mine.

Regardless of what the analysts say, Mitt Romney was not the strongest candidate that the Republicans could have fielded.  Candidates were fielded, debated, self-destructed, and otherwise failed the test.  The only one left standing was Mitt Romney.  There were other names / people that were approached for running for the Republican nomination, but they weren’t interested (at least at that time).

Mitt Romney had his baggage, and the Obama campaign did their best to capitalize on it.  Obama has his too, especially his lackluster performance for his first term, but not enough was made of that by the Romney campaign.  And both campaigns spent obscene amounts of money for ads in their respective efforts.

For a rather comprehensive lists of reasons for the election turning out the way it did, here’s a link to the Real Clear Politics article, “21 Reasons for Obama’s Victory and Romney’s Defeat

Tom’s Place salutes our Veterans, for without their service and sacrifice, we wouldn’t have elections or the freedoms that we still have.


Election 2012

We are now two days away from electing the next government of the United States.  Will the voters reelect the current administration, or change the administration?  At this point in time, it is too close to call.

Criteria should be more performance based than on the mudslinging ads and snarky comments of the candidates.  For me, the overriding questions that I have are:

  1. Are you better off now than four years ago?
  2. Have the politician’s in office kept their promises and taken responsibility for any and all actions & decisions?

For both of the above questions, my answer is a resounding “NO!”  Let me explain:

Four years ago, I was employed by Chrysler which was on the verge of collapse.  I took a buyout, and was promised a job elsewhere.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, the job offer was withdrawn, and I spent the next ten months looking for a job in a depressed job market that was getting worse each week.  I finally found a position that would compensate me at a rate 25% below that of my previous position and am working longer hours as well.  On top of that, my wife lost her job two years later, and is not able to find employment anywhere else due to the soft economy.  So no, my household is not better off than what it was four years ago – in fact, it’s worse.

Our chief politician in chief, Barack Obama, has made many, many promises concerning the economic policies of his administration and how he was going to reform government to work better and for the people.  His campaign promises and the reality are as far apart as can be.  For instance:

  • One of the reasons stated for passing the massive stimulus bill was that it would keep unemployment below the 8% mark.  In fact, unemployment has remained at or above 8% for all but the last two months of this president’s term.
  • Another reason for passing the stimulus bill was that there were a number of “shovel-ready” jobs just waiting for funding.  However, two years later after passage, President Obama admitted that there were no such jobs.
  • President Obama promised to work with members of the opposition party, but has done little or nothing but antagonize and shut out the Republicans with the the words “We won” as the reason for steamrolling bills and laws through Congress without Republican support.
  • President Obama vowed to cut the national debt by half.  Instead, the national debt has skyrocketed, and the credit rating of the United States has been downgraded as a result.
  • A promise of transparency in government was a plank in Obama’s platform.  Yet, when there was a majority of Democrats in both Houses of Congress and in the White House, deals concerning national healthcare (aka ObamaCare) were held behind closed doors, earmarks and pork were rampant, and a 2,700-page bill was passed virtually unread.
  • The further promise of listening to the People was also ignored as evidenced by multiple outcries during various townhalls discussing ObamaCare.  A statement during one of the townhalls was this one:

“I look at this health care plan and I see nothing that is about health or about care. What I see is a bureaucratic nightmare, Senator. Medicaid is broke, Medicare is broke, Social Security is broke and you want us to believe that a government that can’t even run a cash for clunkers program is going to run one-seventh of our U.S. economy? No sir, no!”

  • Then there is the apparent cover-up of the Benghazi situation of where al-Qaeda apparently is alive and well despite the killing of Bin-Laden and the Administrations statements to the contrary

Readers of this blog know that I am no fan of President Obama, but I try to be objective concerning any president of either party.  I did not agree with President Bush’s actions concerning Iraq or Afghanistan, and I flamed President Clinton for not keeping it in his pants.  I will give credit where credit is due, but the bottom line is that this sitting President has not done enough in keeping his campaign promises or upholding the Constitution of the United States to keep his job.  After all, he stated in 2009 concerning reviving the economy:

“You know, a year from now, I think people are going to see that we’re starting to make some progress but there is still going to be some pain out there. If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”

Hold President Obama to his statement – vote for his opposition, Mitt Romney, who has both a plan and the experience to make it happen.